This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
According to the Newtonian intuition, a constant gravitational field has no physical effect on a system since it can always be redefined, and a homogeneous gradient of the gravitational field (i.e. a homogeneous gravitational force) is equivalent to an accelerated reference frame. I will show how to extend this intuition to cosmological scales; in the presence of a single clock a constant curvature perturbation and its gradient can be set to zero through a coordinate transformation.
Velocity fields are a powerful probe of structure formation and the energy content of our Universe. Additionally, the motion of ionized gas on intermediate scales can be used to measure the clustering of baryons and shed light on galaxy formation and feedback mechanisms. I will discuss techniques that can be used to both constrain cosmology and measure baryon properties. I will also present some preliminary results.
A modified gravity (MOG) theory is explored that can explain current observational data in the present universe without detectable dark matter. This data includes galaxy rotation curves, cluster dynamics, gravitational lensing, globular clusters, the Bullet Cluster and solar system experiments. A vector field in the MOG action is a hidden, dark and massive photon that acts as a collisionless particle in the early universe and explains structure growth.
We are investigating modifications of general relativity that are operative at the largest observable scales. In this context, we are investigating the model of brane induced gravity in 6D, a higher dimensional generalization of the DGP model. As opposed to different claims in the literature, we have proven the quantum stability of the theory in a weakly coupling regime on a Minkowski background. In particular, we have shown that the Hamiltonian of the linear theory is bounded from below. This result opened a new window of opportunity for consistent modified Friedmann cosmologies.
Quasars are highly biased tracers of the large-scale structure and therefore powerful probes of the initial conditions and the evolution of the universe. However, current spectroscopic catalogues are relatively small for studying the clustering of quasars on large-scales and over extended redshift ranges. Hence one must resort to photometric catalogues, which include large numbers of quasars identified using imaging data but suffer from significant stellar contamination and systematic uncertainties.
Cosmological perturbations are sourced by quantum fluctuations of the vacuum during inflation. In contrast, our observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background are classical. Can we test for the quantum origins of the perturbations? How much quantum information is lost when we make these observations? Have we totally screwed up by building PLANCK, and measured the correlations in the wrong basis and hence losing the primordial quantum information for good? I will talk about all these!
We live in exciting times for cosmologists. There is a plethora of cosmological experiments that allow us to reconstruct the earliest moments in the Universe and test our ideas on how the Universe came into existence. Current data appear to favor an inflationary model that produces adiabatic, scale free, Gaussian fluctuations with an amplitude of 10^-5 in units of mK. WIthin the realm of cosmological models, it appears that such conditions are easily accomplished if we have a single light field slowly rolling down its potential.
We investigate large-scale structure formation of collisionless dark matter in the phase space description based on the Vlasov equation whose nonlinearity is induced solely by gravitational interaction according to the Poisson equation. Determining the time-evolution of density and velocity demands solving the full Vlasov hierarchy for the cumulants of the distribution function.
Recently, research in cosmology has seen a growing interest in theories of gravity beyond General Relativity (GR). From an observational point of view, there are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the law of gravity has never been directly tested on scales larger than the Solar System. Hence, by understanding better the various signatures that different gravity models can leave on cosmological observables, one can improve the chances of identifying any departures from GR, or alternatively, extend the model's observational success into a whole new regime.